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14 Mai 2019

Amnesty backs legal action against Israeli firm NSO Group over spyware use against Human Rights Defenders

On 13 May 2019, Amnesty International and New York University announced they were backing legal action against the Israeli Ministry of Defence, demanding that it revoke the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli company whose spyware products have allegedly been used in attacks on human rights defenders.

Research has documented the use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to target a wide range of civil society, including, allegedly, murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. NSO Group is currently also facing allegations that its spyware was used to spy on activists enabled by WhatsApp security flaws - for more information see here. NSO Group has denied the accounts that its spyware platform has been misused to target human rights defenders. 

In Luxembourg, where an initiative for mandatory human rights due diligence is calling on the government to adopt a law requiring companies to monitor and respect human rights throughout their value chain, two parliamentary questions were recently asked on the possible involvement of a Luxembourg subsidiary of NSO in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Following this, the initiative released a press release (in French, summary translation available in English below) reissuing their call for a mandatory due diligence law, which could help prevent attacks against human rights defenders and journalists.